Holiday Food Strategies
In order to keep yourself out of this statistic, you have to develop an eating strategy that enables you to fully enjoy the holidays while tackling the stress, parties and excessive eating that occurs.
First and foremost, make up your mind that you WON’T let that happen to you. Make a list of potential problems that may arise in your hectic holiday schedule: not enough time to exercise; not enough sleep; eating on-the-go (translation: fast food stops); food weaknesses at parties (cheese trays, alcohol, sweets). Make a plan to offset those potential downfalls.
Prepare yourself by:
KNOWING YOUR WEAKNESSES (food, exercise, stress, parties)
- STRESS: The holidays can be stressful, depressing and hectic.
- EXERCISE TIME CONSTRAINTS: There are so many things to do to prepare for the holidays, it’s often difficult to incorporate exercise sessions.
- SWEETS AND OTHER PROBLEM FOODS: Identify your potential trigger foods and understand the consequences of eating them.
- PARTIES: Before loading your plate, make a visual sweep of the food being offered. Strategize which dessert you really want. Limit yourself to one.
- ALCOHOL: Try to keep it to one drink per party. Alcohol will inhibit your willpower and cause you to eat things you normally wouldn't. After your one drink, have water with lemon, or naturally flavored soda water (without sweeteners).
MAKING A PLAN AND STICKING TO IT
- Set a fitness and eating goal for the holidays. This may be a good time to keep a food journal to see exactly what and where your pitfalls may be. Consider running or walking in a holiday race such as a “turkey trot”.
- Use exercise to offset the stress of the holidays. Having a few people to exercise with makes you accountable to get out there and burn some stress and calories.
- Exercise first thing in the morning. Take neighborhood walks. Do bodyweight exercises. Park far away from the store to maximize walking distance. Walk up and down stairs rather than using escalators or elevators.
- Limit intake of your trigger foods. Allow yourself one of your favorite desserts – if you know you can stop at one. Otherwise, avoid the goodies table!
- Eat before going to a party. While at the party, load up on veggies and other less “destructive” foods.
- Go for a walk after a big meal; make it a family outing.
- While at a party, eat off a small plate. This keeps you from eating all the food that a large plate would hold.
- Socialize at parties. Play games, and walk around. Try to sit away from the dessert table. This will keep you away from mindless eating.
ALWAYS REMEMBER: MODERATION IS KEY DURING THE HOLIDAYS (and if you know me, you know that I will ONLY say this during the holidays)